While their commitment to watershed protection is strong, too often these grassroots groups struggle to sustain themselves financially and as viable organizations. The Watershed Project offers a variety of services — including consultation grants, community stewardship grants, visioning exercises, and fiscal sponsorship — to help these dedicated groups achieve their watershed education and stewardship goals.
The Watershed Project offers fiscal sponsorship for local grassroots groups seeking to effect positive environmental change in the Bay Area. Applying for “fiscal sponsorship” from a group like The Watershed Project means the grassroots organization doesn’t have to incorporate or obtain 501(c)3 status from the IRS.
Fiscal sponsorship allows grassroots groups to focus on developing and expanding their programs and events, rather than being bogged down by legal and accounting concerns.
As a fiscal sponsor, The Watershed Project:
- Provides basic legal and accounting services, including monthly and annual fiscal reports, audited financial statements, and fiduciary oversight through our own board of directors
- Files all legally required reports
- Provides the insurance necessary for basic stewardship activities
We award consulting grants to grassroots groups whose missions are consistent with our own values and goals. These grants include one-on-one assistance from our professional staff to volunteers, staff, board members, agencies, and community leaders on a variety of projects. Whether your organization is a start-up or an established group, we can help build your capacity for:
- Strategic planning
- Fundraising strategies
- Action planning
- Board development
- Volunteer recruitment and leadership training
- Technical training in watershed assessment and monitoring
The Watershed Project administers grant programs for Bay Area counties, including the Contra Costa County Community Watershed Stewardship Grant Program. This program funds watershed protection groups seeking to enhance and protect local watersheds in unincorporated Contra Costa County. Individual grants range from $5,000 to $20,000 per year. Projects must be implemented in Contra Costa County and must demonstrate a benefit to the county’s Clean Water Program.
Vision Planning and Project Development
We provide planning and design leadership to help community members, grassroots groups, agencies and other stakeholders work together to develop a community-supported vision plan and a roadmap for achieving their goals. Developing a master plan is the first and crucial step towards a successful, sustainable project or program. We work to build partnerships, identify opportunities and constraints, brainstorm and organize everyone’s ideas to develop feasible projects. This includes all phases from concept design to construction to long-term stewardship. We provide comprehensive project development that integrates funding strategies, including writing grants and building inter-agency collaborations for multi-benefit projects that make communities more livable. Leveraging transportation projects for creative placemaking, stormwater management and urban greening, for example, requires nuanced leadership and cooperation, but can lead to tremendous outcomes, particularly in disadvantaged communities. We help establish a unique approach suited to the project budget, timeline, local needs and goals. For example, a school may desire to transform their site into a living schoolyard and integrate a slow-paced, design-build approach that provides hands-on learning experiences for students. Drawing on the expertise of our on-call consultant team of interdisciplinary professionals, we offer the following fee-based services for planning and design:
- Community outreach, engagement and partnership-building
- Long term vision planning, master planning and project development
- Landscape architecture. environmental design and engineering
- Community-build events and volunteer coordination
- Integrated environmental education, job training and outdoor learning
- Stewardship and adaptive management solutions
- Grant writing and integrated fundraising strategies
- Connecting with University student resources